Oranienstraße 25
10999 Berlin

Exhibition space:
Daily 12–19h
Wed-Fr until 20h

Father Figures Are Hard To Find

Exhibition, Events
19 March - 30 April 2016

Exhibition view, nGbK 2016, Photo: Carolin Seeliger
Exhibition view, nGbK 2016, Photo: Carolin Seeliger

With contributions by Naama Arad, Timothy Archer, Sean Crossley, Sergio Cusmir, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Heike-Karin Föll, Juliana Huxtable, Lukas-Julius Keijser, Aleksandra Mir, Michaela Meise, Konrad Mühe, Egle Otto, Antje Prust, Przemek Pyszczek, Ronald M. Schernikau, Bodo Schlack, Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld/Oskar Curter, Timo Seber, Lea St. and Danh Vo
As well as performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals by
Lothar Baumgarten, Arielle Bier/Magnus Rosengarten, Lily Benson/Cassandra Guan, Sabeth Buchmann/Helmut Draxler/Susanne Leeb, Sadie Lune/KAy Garnellen/Mad Kate, Mysti, Aykan Safoğlu, Ronald M. Schernikau/ Ellen Schernikau, Vanessa Sinclair und Melanie Jame Wolf


The stars are aligned against the traditional image of fatherhood, as they are aligning against the patriarchal canon of the history of art itself. To help them along, this exhibition seeks new father figures, queer genealogies, and artistic appropriations of the fatherly prerogative, or whatever remains thereof. The artistic works presented here touch upon biological, disembodied, counter-canonical, digital and (above all) sexy facets of kinship that enable us to re-imagine our role models, and indeed, the human body itself.

“I will be your father figure I have had enough of crime, I will be the one who loves you till the end of time;” with these words George Michael has sought to soothe us in our anxieties since 1987. And despite these reassurances painful questions persist: what can a father figure be? What will become of our fathers? Of the “Our Father”? Of the Father-land? What personae in the history of art have been underestimated as possible mentors on account of not being white, male, and/or straight? How can the building blocks that make a father figure be cleaved from the body of the biological progenitor? What disembodied, digital, and affirmative genealogies can emerge from this?

A point of departure for this project is the assumption that only a precious few develop themselves in the absence authority or role models, relying exclusively on their own piecemeal subjectivity. Hence, we curators bid adieu – goodbye to the family as reproductive union; goodbye all ye fathers of modernity; goodbye to fatherhood as the exclusive reserve of heterosexual men. In their stead we look, paradoxically, down from below and look up from on high in search of father figures who offer us their elective affinities in symbolic and fluid ways.

The exhibition brings together works of art, relics of everyday life, potential new role models, performances, lectures, analyses, salons and liberation rituals daring to walk the fine line between acknowledging the desire to admire and revere our father figures, while simultaneously allowing us to cast them away altogether.

Friday 18th March 2016, 19h,
with Daddy Karaoke and Vince’s tattoo shack

Sunday 20th March 2016, 19h,
Performance “A Kiss For Daddy” by Melanie Jame Wolf (en)

Thursday 24th March 2016, 18h,
Guided tour (en)
with Sean Crossley, Raoul Klooker and Markues

Sunday 27th March 2016, 19h,
Lecture Performance „DA DA DADDY HASSELHOFF“ by Mysti (en)


A Kiss For Daddy is a live performance and video work that seeks to audit the sweet and sour economy of the Sugar Daddy/Sugar Baby relationship; its contracts, its agreements, its perils, and its pleasures. Drawing on a variety of biographical materials and destabilising popular mythologies,
A Kiss For Daddy only wants to see you happy, baby.

Thursday 31st March 2016, 18h,
Guided tour (de)
with Sarah Ancelle Schönfeld and Alicia Agustín

Sunday 03rd April 2016, 19h,
Reading Ellen Schernikau reads Ronald M. Schernikau (de)

Thursday 07th April 2016, 18h,
Guided tour (de)
with Heike-Karin Föll and Markues

Thursday 07th April 2016, 19h,
Film „Ursprung der Nacht“ by Lothar Baumgarten


BRD 1973/77, 102min
(no dialogues)

Sunday 10th April 2016, 19h,
Lecture Performance „Kanonparanoia“ with Sabeth Buchmann, Helmut Draxler and Susanne Leeb (de)

Thursday 14th April 2016, 18h,
Critic Walkthrough with Arielle Bier and Magnus Rosengarten (e)


Art critic Arielle Bier, director Magnus Rosengarten and the curators guide through the exhibition and discuss individual works as well as the curatorial concept behind ‘Father Figures Are Hard to Find’.

Sunday 17th April 2016, 17h,
Videoinstallation „Untitled (Gülşen and Hüseyin)“ by Aykan Safoğlu


2015, 13.10min, loop
Aykan Safoğlu has his deceased uncle rise from the dead in a drag reenactment. The film bears witness to the tough reality of life and social isolation of Turkish guest workers and simultaneously addresses the rise of neo-fascist movements in present-day Turkey.
(turk. | en sub.)

Sunday 17th April 2016, 18h,
Guided tour (de)
with Aykan Safoğlu and Raoul Klooker

Sunday 17th April 2016, 20h,
Film “The Filmballad of Mamadada” by Lily Benson and Cassandra Guan
Event Space, 1st floor


USA 2013, 80min
For this film, 50 New York artists were invited to interpret specific biographical fragments on the life of the artist and Dada theorist Elsa von Freytag Lohringhoven. She was a close friend of Marcel Duchamp and there are many indications that she actually invented the ready-made. She can therefore replace Duchamp as the father of contemporary art.

Thursday 21st April 2016, 18h,
Guided tour "Ontani Hologram" (en)

Sunday 24th April 2016, 19h,
Performance by Sadie Lune, KAy Garnellen and Mad Kate
“WOMB Δ mamapapadada Δ HOME a performance by the crazy family”


Thursday 28th April 2016, 18h,
Lecture by Vanessa Sinclair (en)
“Cutting Up the Image of the Father/ Reconstructing the Third”


The lecture deconstructs the category of the father in the history of psychoanalysis and makes  reference to works in the exhibition.

Saturday 30th April 2016, 19h,
Finissage with Ritual-Performance
“Antepapatory/THE END” by Alicia Agustín

Project group: Alicia Agustín, Raoul Klooker, Markues, Tucké Royale, Vince Tillotson